It's a breath of fresh air and a source of much pride to me and many, to read in The Star yesterday (Sept 4, 2016) that a former diplomat, Alwi Jantan, has come out strongly to support our cherished national values of secularism, liberalism and pluralism.
In short Alwi urged greater national uity and good governance, which, have sadly, been declining!
As a leading member of the Group of 25 (G25) of eminent former senior Malay civil servants and intellectuals, Alwi and the G25 are indeed torchbearers for our founding forefathers. They are therefore fully worthy of the whole-hearted support of all true Malaysians.
The G25's handicap may, however, be that they are preaching to the converted, especially those Malaysians in the more sophisticated urban areas. The G25 has also, currently, a limited number of about only 40 members.
The G25 has thus to expand its membership, not only among more leading non-political party Malay leaders. Indeed, it must also now consider also being more inclusive. The G25 has thus to include leaders in the rural areas and also non-Malays and those leading moderates in Sabah and Sarawak.
There has been a worldwide tendency for politicians to look towards the next general election to preserve their privileged vested interests. Their vision is therefore limited to the short term.
They tend to pursue the dubious doctrine of state capture in order to prolong and perpetuate their continuing political dominance and power, often for self-gain, rather than the progress of the people.
A G25 Movement?
In direct contrast , the independent and experienced thinkers and patriots in the G25 are committed to the long-term national interests and national unity, modernity and sustainability of our country.
And that is why we all must rally around the G25, to strengthen them and to develop a kind of 'G25 Movement' that will stand for moderation, integrity, equity, fairness and unity in diversity.
As the CEO of The Star, Wong Chun Wai, says in the article, unite and not divide the people, for "we should not provide a platform for extremists like academician Ridhuan Tee to spew hatred and disunity. It's like providing oxygen for his fanaticism".
This begs the worrisome question in the public mind - why is justice not being done, or seen to be done? Are some types of people less susceptible to allegations of sedition tendencies?
Surely the authorities don't want to give the impression that we have selective justice or bad governance in our country? What if others follow Ridhuan Tee's terrible example? There could be chaos as Alwi has rightly suggested. We all don`t want any possibility of that, do we?
In fact, any politician or individual who promotes hate, racial and religious bigotry and supremacy of any kind, must be isolated and alienated, politically and even socially. Most politicians find it difficult to isolate bigots, because they have to fight, or even buy, the votes of bigots, through the despicable and dirty practice of money politics.
Hence, it is welcome news to hear that the G25, will be going beyond their current critical concerns, “to find solutions to the overlap of civil and syariah laws” and also to delve into the vital question of good governance.
This new emphasis is fundamental, as without, or with even less good governance, all our progress that we have proudly achieved since Merdeka will dissipate and decline.
We are all deeply anxious about what my civil service brother Alwi Jantan boldly states, viz "good governance has been eroded at an alarming rate". The G25 Report on Political Financing Reforms that was submitted to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and to Minister Paul Low has thus to be seriously discussed in cabinet, and even in Parliament.
Hopefully, will the G25 Report`s recommendations will be adopted by the government, well before the next general election is held, in the interest of good governance?
And, in conclusion
All the rakyat really want is more a fair, reasonable and equitable government and greater national unity, with a much higher good governance. This is our birthright and the people are not asking for much.
This is the natural aspiration of the rakyat, especially the bottom 40 of the people, regardless of race and religion. At present, they could and are feeling marginalised. They even experience a sense of alienation from mainstream development. Would they also feel a reduced sense of belonging and a low level of patriotism?
Therefore, we have to go back to the basics and follow the principles of good governance set by our wise and honest founding fathers. Otherwise, as the G25 clearly suggests, we could fail badly and fade away.
So let's all rally round the G25, form a 'G25 Movement' and appeal for more good governance from our political leaders of all shades, to pass on a Better Malaysia to posterity. This is what all true Malaysians want and fully deserve.
Andg as we approach Malaysia Day on Sept 16, we the rakyat believe that we will win - if we are united against all abuses from any and all quarters!
Selamat Hari Malaysia and may God bless our beloved Malaysia.
RAMON NAVARATNAM is chairperson of Asli/Centre of Public Policy Studies.